September 3, 2015, Salt Lake City, UT -- Our America Initiative today announced the formation of the “Coalition for Fair Debates”, comprised of political parties, media outlets and advocacy groups who oppose the exclusion of qualified candidates from nationally-televised presidential debates.
Fair Debates (https://www.fairdebates.com), is a project of the Our America Initiative (https://www.ouramericainitiative.com), a national advocacy organization, which has long supported opening the general election presidential debates to all candidates who are constitutionally eligible to serve and who appear on enough states’ ballots to potentially achieve a majority in the Electoral College. In 2012, those criteria would have allowed participation by the Libertarian and Green Party nominees in addition to the Republican and Democrat candidates.
The private Commission on Presidential Debates, created by the Republican and Democratic Parties in 1987, uses polling criteria that effectively limit participation in the nationally-televised debates to only the Republican and Democrat nominees.
Joining in the Coalition for Fair Debates are the Libertarian and Green parties, as well as organizations ranging from the Liberty Roundtable to Downsize DC. Independent media outlets joining the coalition include Truth in Media, the 1787 Radio Network, Ballot Access News and others.
The complete list of coalition members, along with background information regarding the presidential debates, can be found at https://www.fairdebates.com/the-coalition.html
Announcing the coalition, Ron Nielson Senior Advisor said, “For more than 20 years, the Commission on Presidential Debates -- a private organization created by the Republican and Democratic national parties -- has monopolized the nationally-televised general election presidential debates. They have intentionally excluded other qualified candidates from participating by applying arbitrary polling criteria that are virtually impossible to meet by independent or ‘third party’ candidates.
“Today, a majority of Americans do not believe the Republican or Democrat parties represent their views, and are more ready than ever to consider alternatives to the status quo. They deserve the opportunity to see and hear from all the viable candidates -- not just the Republican and the Democrat. The Our America Initiative is fighting for fair, open debates, and we are proud to have such a diverse group of organizations, political parties and others joining that fight.”
In addition to a major grassroots effort to achieve reform of the presidential debates, the Our America Initiative is leading a legal challenge to the “monopoly” on televised debates exercised by the Commission on Presidential Debates.